RESEARCH PAPER
Beliefs of medical students about sexuality of people with intellectual disability
 
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Zakład Socjopedagogiki Specjalnej, Instytut Pedagogiki, Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej, Lublin
 
Med Og Nauk Zdr. 2013;19(2):123–129
 
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
Introduction:
Specialists› attitudes towards the sexuality of people with intellectual disability are an essential element in the environments of education, rehabilitation and support. Expressed in the form of specific behaviours and their intentions, opinions, and ways of evaluating, they decide about the quality of psychosocial experiences essential for developing sexuality, and for how it manifests itself in ways which are socially acceptable and beneficial for the individual.

Determining medical students› beliefs about sexuality of people with intellectual disability.

Material and Methods:
197 students participated in the study: nursing (63 persons), public health (75), midwifery (37) and physiotherapy (25), most of the respondents were women. In the study a Likert-type scale ‘The essence of sexuality in persons with intellectual disability’ were used, as well as a questionnaire.

Results:
The predominant categories of beliefs are those that can be defined as the normalisation of sexuality, and perception of the plurality of its determinants. Beliefs which were rarely accepted are the ones which deprive persons with disability of their sexual needs or deprecate them. Significant differences are observed according to the variable ‘study speciality’. Students of the speciality of midwifery revealed reluctantly the strongest belief in all catagories analysed. Differences in respondents beliefs, according to the ‘variable education’, are insignificant.

Conclusions:
Students display a low degree of certainty in their beliefs which, taking into account the weak differentiation between categories of beliefs, suggests ambivalence. Although the results did not show the significance of variable education, its range and specificity, together with the way of realization, might not have facilitated the consolidation of the students’ beliefs.

 
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